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Criminal Justice

  • Credits:
  • Degree:
    Bachelor of Science

Program Description

The criminal justice program explores criminal behavior and the responses of law enforcement, the court system, and corrections. It also explores the impact of crime on victims, offenders, and the general public. As a criminal justice major, your studies will take you beyond the classroom and into the field, providing opportunities to work with members of the professional community and gain practical skills in real-world settings. You’ll also develop advanced communication, research, and analytical skills you can apply to a wide range of careers.

Why Major in Criminal Justice?

A degree in criminal justice opens the door to diverse professional opportunities, in areas including law enforcement, corrections, juvenile justice, cybercrime, and more. Many of these jobs are in high demand and offer competitive salary and benefits. Because there will always be a need for criminal justice professionals, it’s also a field that offers a high level of job security.

Cambridge College Criminal Justice Program Highlights

Gain a broad understanding of the criminal justice system while developing specialized skills in your area of interest. Combining classroom instruction and hands-on learning, the Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice at Cambridge College offers a flexible, affordable undergraduate degree option for adult learners.

  • Convenient course schedules. Earn your bachelor’s degree in criminal justice via convenient day, evening, weekend, and online classes that fit your busy schedule. Talk to a Cambridge College academic advisor to plan a course of study that works for you.
  • Experiential learning. Gain real-world experience and develop your professional network through a variety of field placement and student research opportunities with local criminal justice agencies.
  • World-class faculty. Work closely with caring, dedicated faculty who bring diverse criminal justice experience to the classroom.
  • Exceptional value. Earn your bachelor’s degree in criminal justice at one of the most affordable four-year private nonprofit colleges in the nation.
  • Diverse students. Gain diverse perspectives collaborating with students from all over the world at one of the most ethnically diverse colleges in America.
  • Convenient locations. All of our classroom locations are close to public transportation and/or offer free parking for students. 

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of 2016, roughly three million workers were employed in the criminal justice field. This broader field includes subfields such as law enforcement, corrections, forensic science, homeland security, private security, academia, and legal services.


Specialize your degree in an area that interests you. The criminal justice major offers concentrations in juvenile justice studies, legal studies, and peace and justice studies.

  • Juvenile Justice Studies Concentration: In addition to providing a background in youth services and current theories of adolescent development, this concentration explores the impact of community disadvantage, child abuse, and neglect on behavior. Learn more.
  • Legal Studies Concentration: Designed for students who are interested in pursuing a law career, this concentration provides foundational knowledge of various aspects of law school and the legal profession. Learn more.
  • Peace and Justice Studies Concentration: This concentration focuses on ways to promote the fair and equitable provision of justice as the path to a more just and humane world. Learn more.

Criminal Justice Program Learning Outcomes

As a criminal justice major at Cambridge College, you’ll gain a fundamental understanding of:

  • The underlying causes of crime and criminal behavior and how the criminal justice system is structured.
  • Differing views of national, state, and local laws; policies; and enforcement practices.
  • The role of law enforcement in society, the structure and training of its officers, and specializations such as community policing, state police, environmental police, and federal law enforcement.
  • The role of federal and local courts and of defense, prosecution, and judicial professionals.
  • The role of corrections, correctional facilities and sentenced populations, and correctional policies.

Your criminal justice training will also prepare you to understand and respond to controversial issues related to treatment vs. punishment, the need for law and respect for human rights, the impact of crime and imprisonment, alternative sentencing, and the principles of restorative justice.

Criminal Justice Careers

A degree in criminal justice opens the door to a wide range of professional options—from law enforcement, to corrections, to forensic science and academia.

Graduates of the Cambridge College criminal justice program go on to positions in:

  • Court probation
  • Case management in juvenile and adult judicial processes
  • Community-based alternative sentencing programs
  • Youth diversion programs
  • Pre-release and community reintegration services
  • Drug treatment, victim advocacy, and domestic violence services
  • Corrections on county and state levels

Graduates will also be well prepared for study at the Police Academy and for graduate study in criminology, criminal justice, forensics, public administration, law enforcement, legal studies, human and social sciences, and law.

Take some time to research different opportunities and find the right criminal justice career for you. Our Career Resource Advisors are here to help.

Criminal Justice Salaries

Because criminal justice encompasses so many different fields, salaries can vary significantly depending on your specialization, training, and location. These are average salaries for a small selection of careers in criminal justice, based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

  • Corrections officer: $42,820
  • Paralegal: $49,500
  • Criminologist: $56,750
  • Forensic science technician: $56,750
  • Police officer: $61,600
  • Forensic psychologist: $75,230
  • Criminal investigator: $78,120 

Example Criminal Justice Courses

With a major in criminal justice, you’ll have the opportunity to take classes such as:

  • Crime and Criminal Justice
  • Forensic Psychology
  • Women and Crime
  • Criminal Justice Field Education

Download the Criminal Justice program sheet.

Criminal Justice Scholarships and Financial Aid

Get financial assistance to help pay for your criminal justice degree. In addition to scholarship opportunities available through Cambridge College, you might also be eligible for other types of financial aid, such as federal and state grants or loans.

The first step is completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Learn more about applying for financial aid

Related Programs at Cambridge College

If you’re still exploring degree options, you might be interested in learning more about these programs at Cambridge College: 


General Education

WRT101-102 and MAT101-102 may by waived if equivalent courses have been accepted in transfer. Credits will be replaced with open electives. WRT201 required if both WRT101-102 are waived; not required for students completing WRT101-102 at Cambridge. WRT090 and MAT100 required if assessment indicates need.

Principles and Processes of Adult Learning
LRN 175 3 credit(s)
Students explore theories of adult learning. They clarify the fit between their academic program and their learning and career needs, and see how their prior learning fits in. They assess their academic skills of critical thinking, mathematics, writing, and computer literacy. Students become independent learners who can effectively manage the structures, processes and expectations of undergraduate education.
College Writing I
WRT 101 3 credit(s)
Through challenging readings, class discussion, small group col­laboration, and different forms of writing, students learn the skills and process of “thinking on paper.” They learn to construct an argument or discussion that supports a clear thesis and present it effectively in a well-organized essay that observes the conventions of written English. They write academic papers that analyze and synthesize the issues suggested in two or more readings. Critical reading, critical thinking, research skills, and forms of documentation are also introduced.
Foundations of Critical Thinking
CTH 225 3 credit(s)
We learn to engage in reasoned thinking. We learn to formulate hypotheses; conceive and state definitions, and understand logical consistency and inconsistency. We explore the differences between claims of fact, value, and policy; what constitutes credible evidence; the nature of assumptions. We learn what constitutes a persuasive argument as opposed to an emotive and propagandistic one, and critically examine them. Students learn to present clear, well thought out critical arguments in writing and oral presentations. We look at the relationships among thinking, writing, speaking and listening, laying a strong foundation for improving our capacity to write, speak, and listen well.
College Mathematics I
MAT 101 3 credit(s)
Prerequisite: MAT100 If assessment indicates need. This course introduces students to the value of mathematics for students’ career and educational goals. Students will acquire mathematical study skills, gain strategies for problem solving, and develop a sound foundation for future mathematics coursework. The course is structured towards engaging students in active, applied, and real-life learning in order to facilitate mathematical problem solving and conceptual understanding.
Introduction to Computer Applications
CMP 130 3 credit(s)
Assessment available. This course provides a hands-on introduction to the personal computer, Windows, word processing, spreadsheet, presentation software, the Internet, and an overview of Word, Excel and Power-Point uses. Students begin with the basics of each application and progress through intermediate level.
College Writing II
WRT 102 3 credit(s)
WRT102 acquaints students with the academic research paper as both process and product. The course begins with an intensive review of the strategies and techniques for writing an academic essay that are covered in WRT101 and then moves to selecting and narrowing a topic, preliminary research, and establishing a focus for a 12-15 page argument research paper. The final paper includes an abstract, an introduction, discussion, conclusion, and references. Students learn how to write an annotated bibliography and use APA documentation for in-text citations and references.
College Mathematics II
MAT 102 3 credit(s)
Prerequisite: MAT101 If assessment indicates need. Challenge exam available. This course develops students’ mathematical thinking and problem solving around issues of both mathematical content and process. Students will acquire a conceptual and practical understanding of and familiarity with numbers and operations, algebra, geometry, measurement, and basic data analysis and probability. The course focuses on supporting students’ understanding of problem solving, reasoning and proof, communication, connections, and representations. A key feature of the course is active student involvement to support communicating mathematics in everyday and academic contexts.
Digital Literacy
CMP 230 3 credit(s)
Prerequisite: CMP 130 (course or portfolio) and familiarity with Windows and/or Mac operating system, or permission of instructor. Digital literacy is the ability to find, use, and share information using technology in order to excel in a digital world. Students will practice using a range of digital tools, including tools for searching and evaluating information and for creating and communicating digitally. Students will learn to select and use appropriate digital tools for a variety of settings including the classroom and workplace. Ethical and effective use of information will contribute to students’ identities as effective digital citizens.
General Education Distribution Requirements

Arts & Humanities - 6 credits

Natural & Physical Sciences - 6 credits

Social Sciences - 6 credits

Open Electives

Choose electives and/or concentrations to support your academic interests and professional goals. (Course prerequisites must also be met.)

Criminal Justice Major

In addition to the courses listed below, the following courses are required:

  • JUS 470 - Criminal Justice Field Education
  • JUS 490 - Criminal Justice Capstone
Crime and Criminal Justice
JUS 200 3 credit(s)
This course provides an introduction to the nature of the crime problem in the United States, including patterns of victimization and offending and the ways in which the criminal justice system responds to these behaviors.
Introduction to Social Justice
JUS 225 3 credit(s)
Social Justice, the state where conditions are met for all of creation to survive and flourish, is the bedrock which supports all other forms of justice. This course examines the understanding of Social Justice tradition that has developed over the last century. Principles of power, community, and responsibility will be examined in light of practical political and social problems - racism, sexism, hunger, poverty and environmental issues.
Women, Crime and Criminal Justice
JUS 310 3 credit(s)

This course focuses on the history and role of women as offenders, victims, and professionals within the criminal justice system. Emphasis will be placed on social and cultural norms that marginalize women and create the pathways to criminal behavior. The experience of women within the courts, the jail and prison system and upon returning to the community will be explored. Additionally, the impact of women as professionals within the criminal justice system will be discussed.

Youth and Gangs
JUS 343 1 credit(s)
The emergence in the 1980's of youth gangs in the Boston area began a youth sub-culture that has taken root in geographically diverse urban communities. Students in this course will be introduced to gang culture, its origins and meaning. The reasons youth are attracted to gang life will be explored and delinquent behavior will be viewed within the context of gang expectation. Students will learn to identify gang colors, symbols and terminology and will gain insight into the personal experience of gang membership.
Intro to Juvenile Justice
JUS 350 3 credit(s)
This course introduces the history and principles of juvenile justice, focusing on delinquent behavior in the context of adolescence, family, and social/environmental factors. The course explores various societal responses to problem behavior from colonial time to the present, including various community-based and residential program models, and current national debates on treatment vs. punishment of juvenile offenders.
History and Current Practice of Corrections
JUS 416 3 credit(s)

This course is a study of the history and evolution of corrections from medieval beliefs about the nature of punishment through the establishment of church-sponsored penitentiaries to current philosophies of punishment and incarceration. The purpose and function of U.S. jails and prisons, the different levels of security and the diverse approaches to treatement and rehabilitation vs. punishment will be examined. The course will also study recent theory and research pertinent to the effectiveness of prison programming in preparing men and women for successful reintegration back into the community. Current social issues and policies such as Mass Incarceration, Prison for Profit, Use of Solitary Confinement and Physical Restraint, Out of State Transfers, and the Age of Waiver to the Adult System will be debated. The physical and psychological impact of the correctional system on both inmates and correctional officers will be examined.

Restorative Justice and Alternative Sentencing
JUS 435 3 credit(s)
An alternative to the retributive model of justice, Restorative justice offers a reconciliation model in which the victim, the offender, and the broader community can work toward a more personal and satisfying response to juvenile crime. The emergence and growth of several models such as balanced and restorative justice, VORP (Victim Offender Reconciliation Program), and circle conferencing are viewed within the context of adolescent offending. Attention is paid to issues of age, gender, and culture in various methods of conflict resolution.
Forensic Psychology
PSY 328 3 credit(s)
This course is an introduction to the field of forensic psychology and examines how psychological theory and practice intersect with the law, the legal system, and the field of criminal justice. It will offer a broad perspective of the field and will cover the role that psychology has played in a number of related areas, including theories of crime and criminal behavior, the nature of eyewitness testimony, criminal investigation, the psychological evaluation and understanding of criminal suspects, and jury selection.
Family Mediation Techniques
PSY 409 1 credit(s)
Conflicts among family members are particularly stressful for adolescents. This course offers techniques for successful mediation of family disputes. Emphasis is placed upon introduction of strong communication skills for family members. The role of the mediator is presented as an unbiased facilitator in the family’s attempt to resolve conflict.
Domestic Violence: Risks, Trends, Resources
BHS300 1 credit(s)

Domestic violence*, also referred to as intimate partner violence (IPV), affects men, women and children of all races and social and economic levels. In 2008 domestic violence reached epidemic proportions and was declared a public health emergency in Massachusetts (Comm of MA, 2015). This course will examine recent statistical trends in reported cases of IPV, the identified risks and behaviors that may serve as cautionary indicators in relationships, and the personal, community and legislative resources available to those who are subject to physical and psychological violence. Students will be guided in exploring their personal attitudes toward domestic violence, violence and gender as well as social acceptance of psychological violence. The role of the human service professional in working with families impacted by domestic violence will be explored.

*Domestic violence is the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior as part of a systematic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another. It includes physical violence, sexual violence, threats, and emotional abuse. The frequency and severity of domestic violence can vary dramatically.

The Art of Advocacy, Skills for Policy and Service Delivery
BHS310 1 credit(s)

Advocacy is an art which integrates policy and passion with the skills of communication, social intelligence and change analysis to achieve a better world. Students will recognize how they already engage in advocacy while exploring systems and institutional level advocacy for social change. Each student will outline an advocacy campaign based on a social issue they have selected. The class will visit the Massachusetts State House and other sites. Students will communicate advocacy actions they have undertaken.

Special Topics in Justice Issues
BHS 402 3 credit(s)

This seminar will provide students with the opportunity to develop an understanding of the justice issues inherent in contemporary social attitudes and institutions. Students will utilize Circles as a forum for in-depth discussion of selected social issues such as race, poverty, juvenile delinquency, crime, war, terrorism, and the death penalty. Issues selected will vary.

Foundations of Law Enforcement
JUS 304 3 credit(s)

Students will examine the basic concepts of law related to citizens’ rights and officers’ responsibilities to maintain a safe society. This course will offer a study of various careers in public safety including local and state police, environmental police, and federal law enforcement officers to include ATF, DEA, Military Police, DHS, Border Control and ICE. The course will explore the history and development of law enforcement in the United States as well as the roles and responsbilities inherent in community policing. Contemporary social policies, attitudes and recent controversies such as Black Lives Matter, Stand Your Ground, police use of force, and racial profiling will be discussed with the goal of achieving an unbiased understanding of the nature of conlifct and possible strategies for resolution.

Courts and the Community
JUS 306 3 credit(s)

This course will explore the history of the Community Court system inclusive of Drug Courts and Mental Health Courts, methods employed in assessing behavior and recommending treatment, and the availability of appropriate community resources and strategies used to provide treatment and evaluate outcomes.

Introduction to Criminal Law
JUS 305 3 credit(s)

This course explores the role of law, legislation, prosecution and the courts within the criminal justice system. It examines legal elements of crime, how crimes are prosecuted and defended, types and classes of crime, sentencing, alternatives to prosecution and incarceration, juvenile delinquency and prosecution of minors, victims’ services and restorative justice, and social functions of law. The overrepresentation of low-income, Black, and Brown people in the criminal justice system is emphasized, and how race and class inform policing, prosecution, sentencing, and punishment.

Adjunct Instructor



  • Admission Test:

    No standardized graduate school tests required for admission into non-licensure programs.

  • Admissions Office:
  • Application Form:
  • Application Fee:
    $50 ($100 for international students; $100 for EdD)

Health Requirements for Massachusetts Students

The Massachusetts Health Department and Cambridge College require the following of students in Massachusetts:

Immunizations – All students in Massachusetts are required to get certain immunizations before you can register for your first term. See form

Health Insurance – In Massachusetts, undergraduate students taking nine or more credits/term and graduate students taking six or more credits/term must enroll in the College’s health insurance plan. Students who have insurance with comparable coverage may request a waiver. See information and enroll or waive.


School Requirements

See Admissions Requirements for Undergraduate Programs

For the MEd in Interdisciplinary Studies, see Graduate Education Programs Admission Requirements

International Students 

International students need to provide supplemental documentation:

  • Official demonstration of English language proficiency
  • Supplemental documentation for issuance of I-20
  • International transcripts, evaluated by an accepted evaluation service

Transfer Credit

Graduate program applicants, please complete the transfer credit request form if you wish to have prior course work evaluated for transfer. Learn more about transferring credits.

Undergraduate program applicants, once you are accepted, your official transcripts are evaluated for transfer credit.



  • Credits:
  • Cost per credit hour:
  • Application Fee:
    $50 ($100 for international students; $100 for EdD)
  • Health Insurance Fee:
    $3,940 - Required for Massachusetts students only. See waiver details on Tuition & Fees page.

Note: Rates are as of June 2023, and are subject to change without notice. Rates apply to all students unless otherwise noted.

Financial Aid

Cambridge College offers financial aid to students in our degree programs who are enrolled at least half-time. Undergraduate students must be enrolled in at least 6 credits each term. Graduate and doctoral students must be enrolled in at least 4 credits each term. Learn more

Grants, Scholarships, and Loans

Cambridge College welcomes the opportunity to support your efforts to pay for college.  Federal, state, and local resources in the form of grants, scholarships, loans, and work-study, including Cambridge College Scholarships, are available to help defray the cost of tuition. Learn more

Getting Your Company to Help

Many companies have tuition assistance programs, designed to help their employees with their professional development. Learn more

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